For Lakeidra Chavis’ “Aftershocks” series on the experience of surviving gun violence in Chicago, she looked at nearly 15,000 claims the state processed between 2015 and 2020 for victim compensation. Less than 4 in 10 applicants in Illinois received any reimbursement. That data, and much, were available thanks to public records requests, and in this guide Chavis’ share how she obtained, analyzed, and reported on this under-investigated issue.
The Trace dug into how police departments tracked criminal cases around the country. Here’s how their data can help you file more effective public records requests.
Over the course of over a year, a team of investigative reporters dug deep into local data to find that across the country, police recovered more than tens of thousands of stolen firearms, the vast majority of which were later connected to crimes including carjackings and kidnappings, armed robberies, sexual assaults, and murders. Using public records, they were able to tell the story behind these stolen guns with a level of detail that had never been done. Here’s how.